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Egyptians confiscate convoy members' passports, but Viva Palestina win airport battle

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Tuesday January 05, 2010 12:29author by Freda H - IPSC

Info from Gareth Nicholas and Alice Howard on Viva Palestina convoy

In the past hour 157 Viva Palestina convoy members passports were taken away at Al-Arish airport by the Egyptian authorities. The Egyptians also removed the passport's of British MP George Galloway and convoy leader Kevin Ovenden.

All passports were stamped in on entry but also received an exit stamp too. The Egyptian's wanted 157 convoy members to drive tonight to Gaza and forget about the other 400 Viva Palestina volunteers that were yet to fly into Al-Arish tonight


The convoy split into four groups this morning to travel by plane from Lataika, Syria to join the vehicles in El-Arish, Egypt. The first group successfully landed and the plane returned to Lataika. On the second flight, there was an engine failure around 20 minutes outside El-Arish causing a diversion to Damascus. They will be stuck there until a replacement is found.

The third and fourth groups stayed in Lataika and returned to the Palestinian refugee camp.

The first group had their passports confiscated by the Egyptian authorities and staged a sit-in at El-Arish airport. The Egyptians are demanding that they go straight to Gaza. They are waiting to be joined by the other three groups. All passports have been returned back to their rightful owners and exit stamps have been removed. Now convoy members are scouting for hotels for tonight and will return tomorrow to be reunited with all convoy members, before moving on, to pick up their vehicles and head for their final destination, Gaza!

Additionally, Egypt have said that some 60 vehicles may not proceed - including all 4x4s - and have levied a port handling fee of $27,000 which would not have been necessary had they let the convoy travel on the original route.

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